Fukushima Children’s Recreation Program

It’s been over a year since the Tohoku Earthquake, Tsunami, and Meltdown. Japan is moving towards recovery, yet it will be many years yet, before the full extent of the damage is known and things return to some semblance of normality.

While many people have died and been displaced, there are still many people living in areas of high radiation.  Many young children are forced to stay indoors, wear protective clothing if they do travel outside, and essentially lose a major aspect of their childhood.

In order to help children affected by the Fukushima disaster, a new program (福島の被災児童のための保養センター /  fukushima no hisaijidou no tameno hoyou senta / Recreation Center for Children Affected by Fukushima) is being set up to get those kids some time in a safe environment, where they can play outside and experience life without worrying about radiation.  To that end, singer Tatsuya Ishi, and photojournalist Ryuichi Hirokawa from Days Japan led a press conference announcing a partnership with Kumejima Island.

This summer as many as 40 kids will come to the remote island for a month of recreation.  A pottery factory will be converted as a group house for the duration of their stay, and they will be able to visit Kumejima’s many sights, go to school with other Okianwan students, and explore the many sea activities available on the island.  Participants will rotate through so as many children as possible will be able to find time away from radiation.

The program is tentatively being called “Okinawa Kibou 21” (Hope21 Okinawa) and is being sponsored by many organizations.  The full Japanese press release can be found on their website.